Why We Need Sleep--And How To Get Enough Of It

Sacrificing sleep for work doesn't just make you tired.

Why We Need Sleep--And How To Get Enough Of It
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The tech industry is a sleep-deprived bunch that seems to worship insomnia.

There's Marissa Mayer admitting to 130-hour workweeks at Google, pulling at least one all-nighter a week and sleeping under her desk when she had to.

There's Twitter and Square cofounder Jack Dorsey who worked 16-20-hour days in 2009, 8-10 hours a day at each company, shrugging it off with a "I don’t sleep much, but it’s enough."

The "nap room" and the "nap pod" have become normal features in a tech company's office space.

But sleep deprivation has consequences. After reading our article on how stressed out computer programmers are, pressured to work 24/7, and how they suffer from "imposter syndrome," Dr. Bob Albers of the New Mexico Center for Sleep Medicine emailed us.

That's when you're sure that all the other coders you work with are smarter and more skilled than you are and you fear being found out as a fake.

Albers suggested that a lack of sleep might actually cause "imposter syndrome."

He told us,"Inadequate sleep impairs positive emotional memories, yet retains most of the negative emotional memories (we may view ourselves as imposter)."

He also said people need more sleep than they think they do.

"Sleep is primary for the restoration of the brain, yet many promote myths of needing little sleep. Inadequate sleep is rarely mentioned, when writing about the stress of work. Articles may suggest adequate sleep (which young people think means 5-6 hours per day), but never discusses research supporting 7-8 hours. I would suggest that a programmer would be more productive and accurate with 8-9 hours of sleep, daily, not just the catch-up on off days."

So how can you tell if you are getting enough sleep?

These two viral videos posted by YouTube channel In59Seconds can help. 

This first one is a sleep deprivation test. It's a visual test of a scene. A sleep deprived mind sees it differently than a rested mind.

The second is a trick to help you wake up feeling refreshed called "the 90-minute rule." It helps you calculate when to go to bed in order to wake up at the right time, refreshed.

By the way, there is an app for that, the Sleep Cycle alarm clock. Put it on your bed while you sleep and it determines when you are in the light sleep cycle, the best time to wake you.

It has an 4.5-star rating out of 5, from 67,000+ reviewers.

That's the kind of happiness that only a good night's sleep can bring.

May 19, 2014
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